MANILA, Philippines: After a Filipina domestic worker was killed and dumped in the desert in the oil-rich emirate of Kuwait, the Philippine government said that it is working to prevent abuses of Filipino workers, including rape and maltreatment.
Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said that Jullebee Ranara, 35, was reportedly killed by her employer's son then dumped in the desert.
She added that Filipino officials were trying to confirm news reports that she was raped and was pregnant when she was killed by the 17-year-old suspect, who has been taken into custody by Kuwaiti police.
In an online news conference, Ople said, "It is a very gruesome, senseless crime and so the perpetrator must be punished," adding she would send a team of officials to Kuwait to investigate a recent rise in abuse cases against Filipino workers.
Migrant Workers Undersecretary Hans Cacdac said that some 268,000 Filipinos currently work in Kuwait, but due to labor-related issues, more than 400 Filipinos have sought shelter in recent weeks in an emergency center run by the Philippine Embassy, and nearly half have flown back to Manila.
In a letter, Musaed Saleh Althwaikh, Kuwait's ambassador to Manila, told Ople that Ranara's "tragic passing" was an isolated case.
"Kuwaiti society is shocked and saddened to hear about the demise of Mrs. Ranara. Our justice system will not lose sight in ensuring justice for Mrs. Ranara," he said.
After a Filipina housemaid, Joanna Demafelis, was found dead inside a freezer in an abandoned apartment in Kuwait in 2018, former-President Rodrigo Duterte banned the workers from employment in the country. The ban was eventually lifted.